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REM123

confused and conflicted!

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I'm not sure what it is that I'm feeling or what I'm looking for in posting this. But I recently stopped going to therapy after two years and can only talk to my boyfriend so much about this stuff. I apologize in advance if this is a little jumbled or there's a bunch of run-on sentences!

 

I'm a freelancer and worked with a crew that I work with a handful of times a year today. I first met them when I was starting the de-conversion process, which completely fucked with my head. I met them through someone at my former church and most of the crew were active in church in a nearby town. 

 

They're the kindest and most down to earth people. They're fun to be around and are just what I consider to be normal nice humans. Of course when we first met, and they all discovered that I too was Christian and was active in my community, there was the instant "bond" and camaraderie that you find among Christians of a similar breed. The awkward thing for me was that I was newly questioning everything and was dating and having sex with a non-Christian. I felt insecure and confused being around them and still wasn't sure if I were making poor decisions that weren't in alignment with what God wanted for me (or if he was even real).

 

Fast forward four years later,  I'm now much more comfortable with my decision to leave my church (and the faith) and also being around these guys. It's always a pleasure working with them. Because we're always working with clients nearby, it's not like we've ever actually spoken in depth about our beliefs and they don't know that I'm no longer a Christian, or that I haven't really been Christian the entire time we've known one another. There's one guy that I chat more with than the others. He knows that I no longer go to church and I know that he and his wife no longer attend church. But it's basically been chalked up to "different seasons" in life and nothing else. His father is a pastor and his entire immediate family are believers, believers of the "functioning and generally happy and healthy kind (from  what I gather)." He actually reminds me of one of my good friends that I went to church with who I don't see as regularly now.

 

Today, as I was briefly catching up with him, I mentioned that I'm going to see a specialist for my wrists next month. There's an ongoing issue that could be a hindrance in my career (which is also a reason why I'm not super active on this site at the moment-I'm having to limit repetitive motions that agitate my wrists, like typing). When we were leaving he told me that he'd pray for me, but he couldn't elaborate due to where we were. He messaged me privately after on social media to let me know that he really meant that he'd be praying for me and wished me well. He's the kindest guy and is someone that if I spent enough time around would be like a brother. I replied in kind saying that I appreciate it (and I do appreciate the sentiment and intention), but it just makes me feel a little sad and somehow deceptive. 

 

Part of me just wishes I could believe and that prayer still meant what it did to me years ago. I hate not feeling like I can connect to good-hearted and well intentioned Christians the way I used to be able to. And I just get so confused when situations like this arise. It stirs up emotions and I hate it. It makes me question my life and the fact that I no longer spend my time around generally optimistic and hopeful people. I have good quality friendships now, but it's not the same as being in church. And my boyfriend whom I spend most of my time with is more pragmatic and analytical (which sometimes feels very negative and critical). 

 

Can anyone relate to this at all? 

 

Thanks for listening either way!

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I guess I also miss believing that there was a God to pray to who could heal, whether it was me or someone else. 

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After my deconversion I wished I could just believe and have a big protective sky daddy to watch over me.

That lasted about 2 years. 

I'm over it.

 

Also have fundy friends who know, or suspect, that I no longer roll with Christendom. As many have said on this site they wish they could keep the friends w/out the influence of the church. 

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Thanks for the reply @MOHO

 

Yeah, it's tough because church is such a big part of people's lives who are invested in one. It's impossible to have certain friends without the influence of church, even if those friends aren't preaching at you or judging you. The same way that I wouldn't be who and where I am without my experience or relationships in church, neither would they. That's part of the confusion for me, I guess. 

 

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I think it's a hard line to draw for yourself how you feel about prayer, but what I've come to believe is this. People are going to wish you well in different ways, be it prayer or good vibes or thoughts. They're all basically the same thing, that person thinking of you and wanting that best for you in that moment. I used to get panicky when people said they would pray for me, but now I just accept it as their good thoughts.

Of course there's exceptions. My mom prays for me not to be gay, my dad prays for me to return to the church and tells everyone else to do the same. You don't have to accept that sort of thing. In christian terms its sorting the wheat from the chaff, the things that nourish you from the unnecessary.

I do know though, how hard it is to not have a community anymore. I think a lot of people here do. I myself have the gay community now, but I still don't fit into that group as well as I fit into the church in my heyday of belief. But honestly there's a lot of rose colored memories with that.

I think an important thing to remember is that even if it's years late you can still grieve something and sometimes you need to let yourself do that before you can accept those feelings and push them away. I really hope things get better for you, and that you don't feel quite as conflicted soon.

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Religions provides a close nit social environment. That may be their strongest asset & it is certainly a factor in why people stay. Liberal & mainline Christians probably don't care if you're a Christian or not, because they aren't evangelicals.

 

If the group you associate with are fundamentalists, then they will likely pressure you to return to the fold. Remember, you are not obligated to tell anyone what your religious status is. You might consider not discussing religion with other people because its really no one else's business.

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On 4/25/2018 at 6:48 PM, REM123 said:

Part of me just wishes I could believe and that prayer still meant what it did to me years ago. I hate not feeling like I can connect to good-hearted and well intentioned Christians the way I used to be able to. And I just get so confused when situations like this arise. It stirs up emotions and I hate it. It makes me question my life and the fact that I no longer spend my time around generally optimistic and hopeful people. I have good quality friendships now, but it's not the same as being in church. And my boyfriend whom I spend most of my time with is more pragmatic and analytical (which sometimes feels very negative and critical). 

 

Can anyone relate to this at all? 

 

Thanks for listening either way!

Yes, I know what you are talking about. When someone close to me left the church and I still remained in it, I thought I saw very negative and critical attitudes in this person. Of course, I couldn't really understand that their whole perspective had changed, this is what happens when you leave religion behind. To some degree, I think Christianity protects you from the harsh reality of the world, because you can literally believe you will be taken care of, that things in this life truly aren't all your responsibility, that you're "in better hands." To some degree it helps lighten the load, for some people. On the other hand, it can also turn into a severe burden, when you really start to question the Christian god and his intentions.

I was a fundamentalist. I know I will likely keep some friendships, but even those I do keep, will never be the same. Like it or not, those friends will always judge me according to their faith, and for me, this is a big problem. Yes, its difficult to find new friends, but I believe its possible, to find optimistic and hopeful people among the non religious as well. I suppose you may have been part of a more liberal church, and therefore maybe you didn't hear so much god talk or feel so much pressure, but for me, its a sheer relief not to constantly have to associate with friends who view every thing in life through god-coloured glasses.

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On 4/27/2018 at 2:44 PM, knightcore said:

I think it's a hard line to draw for yourself how you feel about prayer, but what I've come to believe is this. People are going to wish you well in different ways, be it prayer or good vibes or thoughts. They're all basically the same thing, that person thinking of you and wanting that best for you in that moment. I used to get panicky when people said they would pray for me, but now I just accept it as their good thoughts.

Of course there's exceptions. My mom prays for me not to be gay, my dad prays for me to return to the church and tells everyone else to do the same. You don't have to accept that sort of thing. In christian terms its sorting the wheat from the chaff, the things that nourish you from the unnecessary.

I do know though, how hard it is to not have a community anymore. I think a lot of people here do. I myself have the gay community now, but I still don't fit into that group as well as I fit into the church in my heyday of belief. But honestly there's a lot of rose colored memories with that.

I think an important thing to remember is that even if it's years late you can still grieve something and sometimes you need to let yourself do that before you can accept those feelings and push them away. I really hope things get better for you, and that you don't feel quite as conflicted soon.



Thanks for the thoughtful response @knightcore. It made me feel a bit better the other day and I appreciate it!

I think your assessment of what prayer is is in alignment with my own. Now I just need to get to that place of accepting it as their good thoughts, when appropriate. I'm sorry that you have to deal with your mom praying for you not to be gay. I have friends in similar situations and can only imagine how difficult that can be, even when you've accepted that your parents don't understand or fully accept who you are. I'm glad you're that comfortable being yourself and have chosen to live your life authentically and bravely. 

What is it about church communities that makes fitting into other groups pale in comparison?! 

Thanks for the well wishes, and reminder to allow myself to grieve though years have gone by. 

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On 4/27/2018 at 10:42 PM, TruthSeeker0 said:

Yes, I know what you are talking about. When someone close to me left the church and I still remained in it, I thought I saw very negative and critical attitudes in this person. Of course, I couldn't really understand that their whole perspective had changed, this is what happens when you leave religion behind. To some degree, I think Christianity protects you from the harsh reality of the world, because you can literally believe you will be taken care of, that things in this life truly aren't all your responsibility, that you're "in better hands." To some degree it helps lighten the load, for some people. On the other hand, it can also turn into a severe burden, when you really start to question the Christian god and his intentions.

I was a fundamentalist. I know I will likely keep some friendships, but even those I do keep, will never be the same. Like it or not, those friends will always judge me according to their faith, and for me, this is a big problem. Yes, its difficult to find new friends, but I believe its possible, to find optimistic and hopeful people among the non religious as well. I suppose you may have been part of a more liberal church, and therefore maybe you didn't hear so much god talk or feel so much pressure, but for me, its a sheer relief not to constantly have to associate with friends who view every thing in life through god-coloured glasses.



Thanks for your reply,  @TruthSeeker0!

Yeah, religion can definitely cause you to see things through rose colored glasses, and make life feel a little less heavy. You don't feel you're carrying the full weight of existence because God is "in control" or "has a plan." When that rug is pulled from under your feet, reality changes.  I can understand how you felt your friend had grown negative and critical with their changed world view.

I was just so used to being around super positive people. And we were always trying to lift other people up or help others fulfill their potential (ultimately through Jesus). It's so much easier to isolate outside of church and it feels much more  like a "dog eat dog" world (because it is). I definitely derive pleasure from doing acts of kindness and connecting with people, but I'm generally less social than I was when I was in church. I can't tell if I feel guilty about it at times or if the lack of regular social interaction makes me feel bad. 

I suppose whether our friends from church judge us or not is really none of our business as long as they're not crossing any boundaries!

 

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   Hi REM123. I just though to take a look to find you and am so happy to see you are still posting. I got a small fracture in my elbow last Wednesday so my arm is in a splint and I've just begun getting back up to speed. I'm really sorry to see that you suffering to the extent that you are. I feel like I have so many things to say to you. First thing is that nothing you are experiencing has not been expressed on this site by others in the past. Pencil who arrived here two or three years ago comes especially to mind as he was torn so much by the comforting feelings he had received from his church and trying to reestablish those, and his separate new beliefs the christianity was basically false. My advice to him at the time he first came on and to you now would be don't be afraid to return to your church either to a limited extent or as whole heartedly as you are able. I can tell you the I recall Pencil returning I believe twice and one of those was for many months while we would not hear fron him at all. Eventually though he convinced himself that returning left him empty. Deconverting will likely last for quite a while more for you I think and it my help to see yourself more halfway between christian beliefs and complete deconversion rather than beyond the reach  of christianity or having past up the possibility of reevaluating your faith. Christianity will accept you exactly where you are. Their position is you are simply experiencing a crisis of faith even including your unequally yoked situation so there is nothing dishonest about going back just to see if maybe something wonderful happens.

   I believe you have not yet experienced anger and that continuing the process will at some point bring you there. I hear what you are saying about how your church was there when you needed them and what good friends the experience generated and also how scary it is to speculate where you would be today if christianity hadn't been there for you. I also take into account that yours was a much less insane version of christianity than many of us have experienced. In spite of all these important considerations I think you are avoiding and shielding your christian experience from the very significant responsibility it has for your present state. What exactly is the crime you have committed? Why is it that you feel reluctant to turn to the friends your christian experience has brought you in your current very real crisis? Is it really OK to offer help with so many strings attached?

   Something else that made me think of you was in this really long piece titled "The Friendly Atheists Next Door". This family does eventually replace nearly or maybe completely their non family network of friends with atheists. But what might especially be of interest is that somewhere in the last third of the story Harry, the father and main character, takes on discovering what is that special warm safe feeling that the christian community provides so well and can it be reproduced?   

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2015/03/living/friendly-atheists-next-door/

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Girl we seem to have a lot in common... De-converting and in touch with christian people who don't know about it, non christian analytical boyfriend to whom I rant a lot in frustration about ex christian stuff because he's the only person I feel free talking to... the doubts about prayer. It would be nice to be able to hope that it will work, but it will probably not. For me, the worst part isn't even knowing that prayer is unreliable, it's... imagine if I pray to be healed and I get healed, what does that mean? Why? Why me? What about the millions of people that pray to God every day to be cured of more serious illnesses and still get worse or die? 

This is also why I stopped saying grace before eating long ago.

''Dear God, thank you for the food you've provided me, and please don't forget about those in need, amen.... wait no no amen, I shouldn't have to remind you about those in need, you know it all! Why do I have food and so many kids die of starvation every second in 3rd world countries? Why do you choose to give me this food and not them? Doesn't this mean that you treat humanity arbitrarly and let innocent people die? Because if you're not the one responsible for their starvation, by that logic you're not the one responsible for my food provision and then I don't have to say grace. You know what, keep your stupid food!!! Not hungry now!!!'' 

🤣

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On 4/25/2018 at 6:54 PM, REM123 said:

I guess I also miss believing that there was a God to pray to who could heal, whether it was me or someone else. 

 

If it was you all along, and you know that now, and you felt that the god, you, could heal - why not cut out the middle man and go into your own inner dialogue in full knowledge that it's you, talking to yourself, and you can deal out the type of "healing" like you did before? 

 

Here's a possible example: "Mind, I come to you with this problem. I know you have the ability to work it out. These are my wishes, I charge you with carrying out these commands..." 

 

Own it. You're not groveling before some figment of your imagination that you've placed up in the clouds. Take control of your own mind. Tell it what to do. That's a bit on the mystical side, but what the hell. See if it does anything. 

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The funny thing is that kissing before (a hopefully arranged) marriage is highly frowned upon among Indians. And we worship heathen idols!

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(note: if you see this twice it's because I accidentally posted this in my introductory thread, but it's meant for this one!)

 

@DanForsman thanks for seeking me out and sharing such thought provoking and supportive insight. I saw your response last night and started reading about Harry and his family and decided to I needed to wait until this morning when I was no longer tired to really digest, particularly the bit where you said, “In spite of all these important considerations I think you are avoiding and shielding your christian experience from the very significant responsibility it has for your present state. What exactly is the crime you have committed? Why is it that you feel reluctant to turn to the friends your christian experience has brought you in your current very real crisis? Is it really OK to offer help with so many strings attached?” I didn’t quite understand what you meant in my tired state, but after some sleep and fresh cup of coffee,  now do.

 

Perhaps I do largely shield my christian experience from my present state of reoccurring (although not super frequent at this point-thankfully) guilt and sadness, though I’ve committed no real crime. There are some friends I feel okay confiding in and sharing the mental anguish I’ve experienced leaving church, but with others,  I’ve been afraid of being reprimanded or of being a disappointment, though those fears have lessened throughout the years. In regards to the last question, in general I think depending on circumstances it is okay for there to be expectations (aka strings attached or boundaries) when help is offered, but not when that help is really just emotional support, regular company, and lending an ear or advice, which is how the intimacy largely grew with my closest friend/s at church. And not when those expectations are unreasonable and ultimately manipulative, even with the best of intentions.

 

I have experienced some anger since leaving church, though perhaps not in the full expression that needs to be released to fully grieve and move on. I suppose time will iron that out.

 

Sometimes I feel a little silly being sometimes caught up on the loss of my former faith because it’s not like I was a devout believer for 20-30 years like many people on here were. But I realized last night while falling asleep the depth of my early childhood experiences in my paternal grandmother’s church and the influence her faith and that community had on me. Though I wasn’t actively involved and didn’t feel it was my commission to introduce people to Jesus for the majority of my life, the belief that there was a god and that he was expressed through Jesus was always there. I talked to him,  praised him, and took comfort in my belief in him even before I committed my life to him and got involved in church. Subconsciously I guess it feels like I’m somehow disconnecting myself from my late grandmother who’s experience and belief was genuine and very much helped her battle alcoholism and abuse. Letting go of Jesus in part means letting go of something that she valued (and never pushed on me or anyone else to my knowledge) and something that made me feel connected to her, or that I now realize largely defined her. It also means acknowledging how damaged and probably depressed she was since belief/church was a coping mechanism. That means acknowledging the brokenness in my dad’s family, all of which is really sad if I allow myself to think about it (in part because they are one broken family out of countless others).

 

Regarding going back to church and allowing myself to be open to possibilities, I did go back after like a year of not attending, to a Christmas Eve service with my former best friend, 2 or 3 years ago. I felt immensely out of place and couldn’t take anything my former pastor said seriously. It all seemed so trite, emotional, and illogical and I felt very out of place. I will be attending a wedding that will have lots of old christian friends there this June, so that should be interesting. I don’t imagine that I’ll feel self conscious this time around during the god-centered vows and thankfully I have one friend that I’ll be sharing a room with whom I feel comfortable being my complete self around, though she’s a professed Christian. Perhaps I could go to a church sometime, even if it’s not my former church (as many of my former friend circle have moved on to other churches for various reasons and as I just mentioned the last time I went it turned me off), just to see how I feel and maybe find some closure. When I was a fresh transplant to the east coast, homesick, and feeling vulnerable there was a church I went to seeking comfort and familiarity. Ironically there was a leader there from my small middle-of-nowhere hometown, which at the time seemed like too unlikely to just be a coincidence. I attended a 5-6 week introductory course for Christians at that church and then about a year later got my then boyfriend (who's faith was waning) to attend the course with me once he joined me on the east coast. Long story short, that church might be a good place to visit to try and bring things full circle for myself emotionally. I do think I'm beyond the point of christianity being a logical belief system for me to entertain, particularly as I now understand what compelled me to prioritize it's provided comforts over the lack of logically satisfying qualities that I've long grappled with. 

 

Harry and his family’s journey were encouraging and comforting to read about. Perhaps in time I will look to be a part of or to cultivate a community of encouraging secular individuals who enjoy fellowship and enriching themselves through shared, present, and real life experience. It does sound appealing, especially that "after church high."

 

Thanks so much for your support. I hope your elbow fracture heals in a timely fashion and that it’s not a big hindrance. Also, I’m glad that the bloody battered pig head didn’t offend you and that you enjoyed Razie’s story and her clear thinking abilities! I’m also happy to hear that you found your passion after putting considerable time into discovering it. Work does take up so much time in one’s life and planning for how to fill and use that free time in a meaningful and satisfying way during retirement is probably a good idea! Both my dad and paternal grandpa were also carpenters, and I grew up regularly visiting their work sites and riding in their work vans. I love the smell of a house under construction, it’s so nostalgic and takes me right back to childhood 

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On 5/5/2018 at 1:28 PM, Axelle said:

Girl we seem to have a lot in common... De-converting and in touch with christian people who don't know about it, non christian analytical boyfriend to whom I rant a lot in frustration about ex christian stuff because he's the only person I feel free talking to... the doubts about prayer. It would be nice to be able to hope that it will work, but it will probably not. For me, the worst part isn't even knowing that prayer is unreliable, it's... imagine if I pray to be healed and I get healed, what does that mean? Why? Why me? What about the millions of people that pray to God every day to be cured of more serious illnesses and still get worse or die? 

This is also why I stopped saying grace before eating long ago.

''Dear God, thank you for the food you've provided me, and please don't forget about those in need, amen.... wait no no amen, I shouldn't have to remind you about those in need, you know it all! Why do I have food and so many kids die of starvation every second in 3rd world countries? Why do you choose to give me this food and not them? Doesn't this mean that you treat humanity arbitrarly and let innocent people die? Because if you're not the one responsible for their starvation, by that logic you're not the one responsible for my food provision and then I don't have to say grace. You know what, keep your stupid food!!! Not hungry now!!!'' 

🤣



Hey Axelle, apparently we do!

I can understand your misgivings about prayer and the cognitive dissonance that would occur if one of your prayers was answered while those of others (many in dire need as your quote suggests) weren't, and the questions that would naturally arise. That falls under the same category as having to accept that if god is in control of all things, then he is responsible for the bad as well as the good in the world and that he's worthy of praise regardless of if he decides to answer prayers or prevent unfortunate circumstances because his ways are above our ways, he is in control, and  ultimately "all things work for good for those that love him and are called according to his purposes." I have some christian friends that entertain that belief as a means to allay the cognitive dissonance, but it doesn't work for me anymore. 

I also can't stand it when people thank god for every little thing (though I used to do exactly that ALL of the time) and think that god is looking out for them when they find an unexpected book at a bookstore, get the last one of a particular long desired coat on sale (as my pastor once shared during a sermon-giving god praise for helping him to save money and teaching him patience), or make it to an important appointment on time despite the odds of that particular morning with horrible traffic and delays etc. As if a caring and active in the live's of his people god wouldn't have more important things to occupy himself with than the added comforts of those who's basic needs (and then some) are already met, when there's others who's basic needs aren't and/or who suffer in ways that many people will never experience. It just seems silly to me now.
 

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On 5/5/2018 at 1:44 PM, Joshpantera said:

 

If it was you all along, and you know that now, and you felt that the god, you, could heal - why not cut out the middle man and go into your own inner dialogue in full knowledge that it's you, talking to yourself, and you can deal out the type of "healing" like you did before? 

 

Here's a possible example: "Mind, I come to you with this problem. I know you have the ability to work it out. These are my wishes, I charge you with carrying out these commands..." 

 

Own it. You're not groveling before some figment of your imagination that you've placed up in the clouds. Take control of your own mind. Tell it what to do. That's a bit on the mystical side, but what the hell. See if it does anything. 


Hi @Joshpantera,

I've done that before, but suppose giving myself credit and believing in the capabilities of my own mind is like a muscle that can be strengthened with repeated exercise. Thanks for the reminder and suggestion :)

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I started writing a month or so ago and then so many distractions. This is what I had started with:

  So great to hear back from you REM123. Whenever i see what you’ve been thinking about I get so many ideas for things i want to say to you. I’m so glad you took what I said to be supportive rather than critical of you feelings. I totally mean to be supportive in my responses but I take chances because I hope I will hit on something that is meaningful enough to actually be helpful and, of course, there is always the chance that what I’m saying is completely off the mark or else poorly timed. Anyhow I’m glad you’ve put the anger thing in your head as a possibility just in case you find that knocking at the door more strongly down the line. Most importantly I want to be very clear that I don’t have any doubt that parting ways with christianity was the right thing for you to do and that your decision will serve you well throughout the rest of your life. In fact I hope you take it further and question every thought you have in the future where tribe might play a roll (family, friend, club member, political figure, etc.) and possibly cause you to favor cognitive dissonance over most probable explanation for whatever is happening. I cannot think of a circumstance where I myself would ultimately prefer to have used cognitive dissonance over reason no matter how costly it might seem at first consideration. I’m not sure that this will make your life any easier or that you’ll necessarily get the results you want more often but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are living you own life, expressing your own particular DNA. I believe you will at times feel extraordinary satisfaction in knowing you used you own mind and your own reasoning in a difficult situation to come up with the best solution your abilities and resourcefulness allowed. For me this feeling is unmatched and the assumption of personal responsibility unmatched by anything christianity has to offer. In a very real way leaving christianity is like what we imagine growing up is, putting yourself in charge of turning all the levers and working all the switches and then taking responsibility for your choices.

   Since I’m here I want to put in one of my favorite life lessons about taking full responsibility for your life and all your actions. The first part is drop the temptation to look at results when judging yourself. Society loves to do this so you’ll need to be very conscious of choosing to focus on your effort rather than how everything turned out. There are so many reasons for this like you could credit yourself for a good result that you had no part in causing or you could blame yourself for what was actually a case of going the extra mile and doing an extraordinary job of researching and reasoning when in fact the task you had taken on was simply not achievable or possibly most confusing of all everything looks wrong (or right) but the place in time you are judging from is too early and the results are going to be different in the future. To be successful at this you will almost certainly at times need the second part in  order to be able to tell yourself you’ve done a good job when your world has been turned upside down by a bad result. If you’ve read much of my advice you will have seen this before but my recommendation is to seriously become you own parent, that ideal parent you strive to become or imagine you would strive to become when you have a child. Be patient, understanding, loving, forgiving, realistic, supportive,etc. because from here on out the buck stops with you and you will need the very best of yourself to fight another day regardless of how dire your situation seems at the time. So maybe for you right now this line of thinking might suggest you just to take pride in how far you’ve come and the effort you’ve put into doing the right things for yourself even though you have some uncertainty and down times. All you need to do is follow up as best you can on any questions that come up and give yourself all the information you can find so you keep putting yourself in the best possible situation to keep coming up with really good choices.

  I also was thinking of bring up the point Jostpentera brought up so I’ll elaborate a little on it as I think it is relevant to you possibly selling yourself short in a couple of areas. The idea is that if the holy spirit or some other supernatural force isn’t participating in the church services then those safe secure feeling you had when you prayed and that after church high you experienced and all other good feelings that came while a christian were courtesy of your own mind and therefore almost certainly retrievable if you can find a way to allow them to return. I think a lot of people are able to experience similar overwhelmingly protective feelings while out in some natural setting or during meditation or even after a physically taxing experience (an all day bike ride for example). One more thing relating to this is that it is possible that you were ready to make a step forward in resolving problems in your life and joined the church as part of that process. If this were the case (and it is likely because progress can’t come until we’re ready) then the church probably didn’t play as key a roll in helping you as it might appear and in fact your personal transformation might well have taken place through any one of a number of different self help forums or even all on its own.

I hope you get this REM and wish you the best of everything as you continue your journey.          

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2 hours ago, DanForsman said:

The idea is that if the holy spirit or some other supernatural force isn’t participating in the church services then those safe secure feeling you had when you prayed and that after church high you experienced and all other good feelings that came while a christian were courtesy of your own mind and therefore almost certainly retrievable if you can find a way to allow them to return.

 

Another fine shot in the arm from Mr. Forsman.

Dan's entire post reflects the most valuable aspect of this site - the encouragement of us to continue to resist the insanity of part of our society and break free of harmful religion. Hence my avatar.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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Thanks for those wonderful thoughts and feelings MOHO! I am always excited to read you comments and I am so glad you haven't (yet at least) followed up on you thought of graduation from ExC and getting along without us. Once you are completely healed of you exc life you can still serve a valuable purpose here sharing you experiences (not least of which is your rich background in the ever popular unequally yoked conundrum). Thanks again my friend and thanks also for all that you bring to our little community. You most certainly do have a mind of your own.

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I don't even go to church and I am very much feeling the affects of big brother and or some outside forces that all they won't from me is to quite smoking cigarettes... so they use various methods to gas-light me and of course with subliminal messaging ie: GOD... the only reason I am conflicted is because of their constant attacks. I don't have a fucking clue on how to resolve this?   

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26 minutes ago, MAAT5 said:

I don't even go to church and I am very much feeling the affects of big brother and or some outside forces that all they won't from me is to quite smoking cigarettes... so they use various methods to gas-light me and of course with subliminal messaging ie: GOD... the only reason I am conflicted is because of their constant attacks. I don't have a fucking clue on how to resolve this?   

Develop a thick skin and tell them to fuck off and stay out of your personal habits, that's the only way. People who think they have a right to gaslight others just need to be told.

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@DanForsman, I just saw your reply from back in June! How the time flies!

As usual, you've given me a lot to consider and mull over. I imagine that I'll reply in length after chewing on the points and suggestions you made. I just wanted to let you know that your response reached me,  resonates, and to re-iterate that I appreciate your thoughtfulness and shared wisdom. 

 

Thank you and I hope this finds you doing well :)

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Hi REM123. I'll be totally excited to here back anytime you're feeling ready to respond. I thought you had possibly given Christianity another try so was prepared for a very long time of waiting before I heard from you again. Lately I've posted a few things after the first wave so it takes a little luck to have those things even looked at. I am in fact very well just now, thank you, and  I hope the same is true for you and for sure you're very welcome.

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